I have blogged about this matter in the past but only very briefly in passing. After many months of self-reflection and getting resettled, I now have more time to reflect upon my journey and share with readers here (and anyone else who may be interested).
Since November of 2011, I have made a journey that has brought my family and I to a new denomination, and to another province. As some of my old readers may know, I began serving as an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. My family and I decided to leave the Lutheran church for various reasons–partly for family and ecclesiological reasons. The ELCIC denomination (Canadian equivalent to the ELCA) in which I was a part of had made big changes in the summer of 2011 in the way it treated marriage between two people of the same gender. I believe its interpretation of Scripture had gone awry and I know that this goes against the popular beliefs in society today. The atmosphere in this denomination made it very difficult for pastors to speak their mind (despite what they may say). After some time praying and reflecting upon this, as a family we decided that it was better just to leave rather than remain within the system. The theological currents within the ELCIC was too powerful, especially in its leadership level, so I was under no deception about this.
Despite these huge changes, many of my former fellow colleagues in ministry chose to remain in the same denomination (since they are mostly life-long Lutherans). I know how hard it is to leave a denomination they have known all their lives. It takes a lot of courage, perhaps too pressure to stand alone for most. [but to my Lutheran colleagues and brothers and sisters who choose to remain, I pray for them God’s richest blessings. ]
For me, it was a much easier decision to leave because I was already very familiar with the evangelical church. I had grown up a classical pentecostal assembly (PAOC) in Vancouver, and was baptized by immersion in a Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA) Church in Ottawa in my early 20s, and had fellowshiped in evangelical churches most of my life. (…yes, I’ve been on a theological-ecclesiological journey.) So to return to the evangelical fold was no problem at all. Our family packed up our belongings and moved from the prairie towns to the Greater Toronto Area in eastern Canada. We finally feel more settled now. We’re recently in the middle of a transition, but overall, this move has been a spiritual pilgrimage back to our evangelical roots. In looking back I think this pilgrimage has also stretched me in ways to become a better pastor. I have recently served as a pastor in a Baptist Church (CBOQ).